Three days to camp out before I could get into Chiricahua National Monument. Only 12 miles from the RV park. Moving day in the pouring rain. Relatively easy set up. But the mud is horrible. Like brown cement. Any amount of walking outside results in large heavy clumps on the boots. Developing a strategy for keeping mud out of trailer. Remove the boots in the truck, scraping the mud off with the machete. Remove the clogs on the trailer steps scraping the mud off on them, and wearing the slipper socks exclusively inside.

There are according to the literature 20,000 sandhill cranes wintering over here. They spend the night in the water, then fly off in the daytime to feed in nearby agricultural fields. They fly in v-formations with as many as 60, keeping up a noisy conversation amongst themselves. They are very large birds with long necks outstretched and their long legs trailing behind them. Their summer home is Alaska and northern Canada. Quite an unexpected and awesome experience.

There are other birds around. Ducks, swallows, and the one vermilion flycatcher I spotted. A hawk spent his days perched on a utility pole down the road from my camp.

I made another trip into Bisbee to see if my mail had arrived from Pahrump. It had not. Also an opportunity to pick up a few groceries I had failed to plan far enough ahead for.

Saturday morning I was up before sunrise to drive over to the main viewing area to observe the cranes before they flew off. Very foggy. Only one group was close enough to actually see. They were many others beyond visibility that were very audible. The birds prolonged their departures and left only in small groups.

The day was sunny but it was too muddy to do anything outside around camp. Cooked inside. A large of number of cranes appeared in the field across the road. Gunshots from beyond startled them suddenly and hundreds took to the air all at once. Amazing. I had the place to myself for two nights but some campers pulled in the afternoon. This area could easily accommodate a couple more.

A great sunset that evening, and an equally impressive sunrise on Sunday. And then hitching up to move up to Chiricahua.